Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley enter their fourth year at Hogwarts school. First, in a graveyard attached to an old country house; the gardener Frank Bryce awakes in his cottage to see a light on in the house. He investigates the light, and finds Lord Voldemort and Peter Pettigrew discussing plans with an unidentified man; Voldemort kills Bryce. Harry awakes at The Burrow before departing with the Weasley family and Hermione for the Quidditch World Cup. After the introduction to the game, there is a temporal jump to that evening, when the camp is attacked by Death Eaters, who disperse when the Dark Mark is shot into the air by an unknown man.
Harry, Ron and Hermione arrive at Hogwarts, where they find that the school will be hosting the Triwizard Tournament, a legendary event in which one wizard each from two rival schools and Hogwarts compete in three dangerous tasks. Dumbledore reveals the Goblet of Fire, a magical cup into which potential champions must drop a piece of parchment with their name on it. The goblet acts as an impartial judge to select candidates and reveals its results by shooting the relevant pieces of parchment into the air: Cedric Diggory from Hogwarts, Viktor Krum from Durmstrang and Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons. The goblet then unexpectedly announces a fourth champion, Harry, although he did not enter his name and is in any case under the age limit set by the Ministry of Magic. Harry’s entry into the Tournament incites jealousy and suspicion from his fellow students, including a breakdown of friendship with Ron, which lasts until after the first task. Dumbledore asks the new Defence against the Dark Arts professor, Alastor Moody, to keep an eye on Harry.
In the first Triwizard task, the four champions each battle a dragon to retrieve a golden egg. Harry casts a summoning charm to bring his broom into the arena, but the dragon breaks free of its chains and chases Harry through the Hogwarts grounds. Harry retrieves the egg, which is said to contain a clue about the second task, though only a horrible screeching emerges when he opens his egg. Cedric Diggory, the other Hogwarts champion, advises Harry to open the egg underwater. Harry does so in the prefects’ bathroom and hears the clue clearly; it informs him that the merpeople will take something of Harry’s and that he must retrieve it from the lake in the Hogwarts grounds.
In the second Triwizard task, each champion must find and save someone close to them who is now chained underwater. Harry swallows Gillyweed which allows him to breath underwater, then begins searching for the merpeople village. While following the mermaid, he sees Fleur attacked by Grindylows. This forces her to withdraw from the task. When Harry arrives at the merpeoples’ village, he sees Ron, Hermione, Cho Chang, and Gabrielle Delacour catatonic and chained to a rock with thousands of merpeople guarding them. Harry cuts Ron free, hesitates, and then moves to cut free Gabrielle realizing that Fleur will not be able to save her sister. When he does, the merpeople threaten him with their spears with one mermaid poking her spear into Harry’s throat. He is saved when Viktor, in the shape of a half-man/half-shark swims by to break free Hermione. This scatters the merpeople. Harry frees Gabrielle and begins swimming to the surface, pulling Ron and Gabrielle with him. On the way, Harry is viciously attacked by a herd of Grindylows. He pushes Ron and Gabrielle upwards, draws his wand and scatters the Grindylows. He then propels himself to the surface using a spell, but still finishes outside the task’s one hour time limit. Despite this, he is awarded second place in the trial because he was delayed by his decision to risk himself to free Gabrielle.
A traditional part of the Triwizard tournament is the Yule Ball; Harry is especially concerned since, as one of the champions, he is expected to open the dance. Cho turns him down, as Cedric Diggory has already asked her, and Hermione declines, though Harry does not find out until the Yule ball that it is Krum himself who has invited her. Eventually, Harry asks Parvati Patil, who accepts; her sister Padma partners Ron. Although Hermione greatly enjoys the ball, Harry and Ron do not; Ron, who is particularly jealous of Krum, accuses Hermione of “fraternising with the enemy,” leading to a serious row between the two characters.
For the third task, the Triwizard cup is placed inside a large maze whose magical hedges are capable of attacking the champions as they attempt to reach it: the first champion to touch the cup will be declared the winner. Harry and Cedric reach the cup together and decide to claim a draw, both touching the cup at the same time. The cup turns out to be a portkey which transports the two to a graveyard, where Pettigrew appears carrying Voldemort. Upon Voldemort’s command, Pettigrew kills Cedric and traps Harry against an enchanted tombstone. Pettigrew takes blood from Harry’s arm and mixes it with other ingredients to restore Voldemort. Voldemort tortures Harry as he explains the story of “The Boy Who Lived” to his assembled Death Eaters. The two duel, but Harry escapes when his wand unexpectedly caused Voldemort’s to disgorge the spirits of the people Voldemort has killed, who protect Harry as he escapes and takes Cedric’s dead body back to Hogwarts. Moody takes Harry to his office and starts interrogating Harry about what took place in the graveyard, Harry reailzes something is wrong when Moody asks, Harry never said where the cup sent them. Dumbledore, Snape, and McGonagall burst in the room and stun Moody; he begins to change shape as they watch and quickly transforms into Barty Crouch Junior, who has been impersonating Moody all year in order to ensure that Harry was entered into the Triwizard Tournament as part of Voldemort’s plan to regenerate himself using Harry. The school year ends as the foreign schools depart after Dumbledore exhorts them to stand together against Voldemort.
Each of the Harry Potter movies has gotten progressively darker, this one is no exception, although it does seem to have a lighter tone that its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
While this is a pretty good film, its not my favorite Potter flick. It falls in the middle somewhere. This is mainly due to the amount of material that was removed in the transition from book to film. I realize that some things had to be removed, but this just seemed to be a watered down version of the book done on film.
There are plenty of good things about this picture. The cast seemed to have fully gelled and hit their strides in terms of their characters. The introduction of Raph Fienes as Lord Voldemort is inspired casting and a welcome addition. The special effects are nothing short of spectacular. If I didn’t know better, I would have said the dragons were real!
With good, comes bad, though. The movie, which is 2 1/2 hours long, seemed a bit rushed in parts, while others were well executed and though out. In other words, scenes the film is inconsistent. When Harry talks to Sirius in the fireplace, you can barely tell that’s who it is. They could have done a better a job with the puppetry or what have you to give him a better appearance.
Having said all that, this is a good film, and no Harry Potter fan should go without seeing it. If you’re not a HP fan, then go see it, just because it’s a good film.
4 out of 5 stars